I am the bud of a flower plant that developed from cardoon. During the Middle Ages I acquired a reputation for being an aphrodisiac that immediately made me popular with the Greeks & Romans. As a native of the Mediterranean region I was introduced to America by French and Spanish explorers. I grow three to five feet high and can be eaten prior to flowering. We just adore fog, so the micro-climates in California are what we love best even though we are more prolific in Italy, Spain, France and Greece. We have over a dozen varieties, most of which are round, many of which have thorns. We are usually green but some wild ones arrive in purple just to be different. Our babies are often robbed from the cradle and eaten uncooked as can only be done at that age. Humans eat my vital organs, my, bottoms, my leaves and my bud, but if you wish to remain breathing avoid our midsection. We, in turn, nibble on their fingers when we can. We are, steamed, baked, boiled, stuffed, used as dips, marinated or added to salads. I am a good source of potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and vitamin C. As a pharmafood stimulate the secretion of bile, act as a cleanser for blood, as well as being an antitoxin and a diuretic.

977 Produce Quiz courtesy of:
Richard Leibowitz
Culinary Specialty Produce
"We Follow Orders"

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The answer to last week's quiz: OREGANO
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